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Worried my cage isn't safe

2267 Views 15 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  erinsweeney
There was apparently an incident with my boys last night. Their cage has three levels. The upper two levels have wire grate floors, and we line them with pads and fleece. We had tried holding them down with binder clips but even then the rats were insisting on burrowing under them and finding ways to sleep under the liners and sometimes directly on the wire (doesn't look comfortable, but go figure). So we started letting them sleep on the wire because that was what they seemed to want to do no matter what, even though we still put fleece liners down--they burrow under them in no time, even though they also have blankets and hammocks available.

My fiance posted on Facebook while I was asleep last night that one of the rats dangled his paw through the wire, tried to pull it out the wrong way, and started screaming when it got caught. He was still awake at the time and went to rescue him. It sounded like the rat was panicked, and he grabbed him to figure out a gentle way to release the foot, and got bitten in the process (probably due to the panic; since our rats have had a few nipping issues but are not biters). He posted that the rat seemed "grateful" afterward, and didn't look hurt.

My fiance is currently at work so I can't ask him more about what happened and I am not sure which rat it was. I looked at all of the boys on my lunch break and they all looked fine. But this has me worried that their cages aren't safe. What if this happens and results in an injury, or happens when we aren't home to help them and they injure themselves trying to get free? Should we put a hard layer of something over the wire to prevent them from sleeping on it?
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For the girls. That's not the cage that this incident happened in, though. I don't know the brand name of this cage.
This may sound a little harsh but it may be that he will remember the pain and not do it again. animals are pretty intelligent in that way. As long as the injury isn't too serious, because I don't know of any other tricks to keep the fleece down other than binder clips.
that doesn't sound mice at all :( I haven't owned any rats before, but what if you put some like snuggle sack things on the racks like for guinea pigs, that way they could sleep in them :)
OverAGlassWall- It sounds like her rats were digging up the liners she had on the shelves. She has hammocks (which hang) for them to sleep in too.

Ponderosa- I'm not sure how much you can do about this. I would check with your fiance and find out which part the rat got his foot stuck in. I would think any mesh would be too fine for this to happen (so maybe it was near the edge of the cage)? How long have they been in this cage? I had my females in a wire cage without liners (same issues as you seemed to have) for about a year and never had an incident like this. Hopefully the rat will learn not to repeat the behavior. The only other possibility is to remove the shelves and just replace with more hammocks, etc. I did this in my rat manor and only left the center level (which had to be left for support).
This is one of the reason I dislike wire floors, if a rat lands wrong this can happen. Could you get a photo of your cage? It might be that the wire floors can be removed and you could use hanging cat litter trays instead, much better from a smell point of view and much safer too.
Actually artgecko, I took the center floor out of my rat manor just fine, it didn't seem to have any negative affects.
Maybe sew "sleeves" for the levels that can snap or Velcro shut at the end? That does sound scary!
I have a temp cage while I gather enough money for a CN. It's several cages ziptied together so the floor on the top wasn't very comfy but the girls seemed to want to be up there. Fleece isn't an option because any I put in the cage immediately gets shredded. So I got some vinyl floor tiles that have the sticky back. They're easy to cut to size and clean up easily. Maybe that would work for you?

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Yes, it is correct, they have been digging underneath their liners down to the wire grate. They will sometimes sleep in their blanket or hammocks, but often those get ignored. The rat who got his foot stuck has been sleeping in a hammock more since it happened, but I've been worrying it might happen to the others. The floor grate actually may have had big enough gaps to make it rather easy for a foot to fall through, and then get caught when the rat panicked and mindlessly struggled, as happened during the incident. I had been worried about urine puddling with the vinyl tiles, but now it's actually sounding like a great idea. I will consider it!
All you need to do with the vinyl flooring is wipe them down regularly.
All you need to do with the vinyl flooring is wipe them down regularly.
Yes, I second that. I find they still tend to really go in certain spots but leave the usual marking etc. other places. I usually wipe it down with diluted vinegar and water before I leave for work, when I get home and before I go to bed. The kitchen area gets a little grotty sometimes because of the added crumbs from food but all it takes is a little more elbow grease.
Just out of curiosity, vinyl users: do you still use any fleece liners or anything of the sort?
I'm not really big on the vinyl on wire, cus gross stuff seems to stick to it. I do like natural or ceramic tiles- the 1 x 1 ones. You can toss those into the sink. I have a bunch of heavy natural rock ones that I clean in the sink and sometimes put in the oven with any wooden things to completely sanitize. Tupper ware (or whatever plastic type tray) that is about the size of the shelf is nice too. You can put litter in it or whatever and it catches things and again comes out to be cleaned easily.

Though I don't use vinyl, I don't do fleece liners. I do toss small fleece blankets and sleep sacks around though. Makes it easy to replace on a day to day basis for me without having to take anything apart. I only use a couple hammocks, and the rest of the hanging stuff is plastic baskets, balls, tubes and other easy to clean stuff. So except for once a week major clean up I can just wipe down all the plastic, tiles, plastic shelves ect and replace fleece as needed for easy daily maintenance. But I do have 15 so it's a lot of daily maintenance and I need it easy to keep smelling nice. 7 girls in a dcn and 8 boys in a QC makes for a lot of cleaning if I'm not wise in setting things up.
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I second ceramics! My husband makes them and while I haven't tried the tiles (that is a GREAT idea) I use a ceramic food bowl for my rats, they have yet to tip it over! And very easy to clean, also doesn't seem like they'll have much chance to hurt themselves.
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